One week after the Miami Marlins were at some serious lows, having come out of a four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets, the team suddenly looks far more chipper. Thanks to a suddenly competent offense, the Marlins have pulled off five wins in six games, taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies and sweeping the expected NL East champion Washington Nationals. Miami is now 8-11, a game ahead of the Nationals and just three games out of .500.
One week ago, things had gotten so bad that there was speculation that the terrible early start could cost manager Mike Redmond his job. Miami lost five of six games in the first week and started the year 3-10. They looked bad in every aspect of the game. Giancarlo Stanton said that the team "lacked fire." Fans got caught up in the rumor mill and the bad start, and it was very easy to blame Redmond as the scapegoat for the team's early season problems.
One week later, the Marlins have won five out of six games. Is Mike Redmond suddenly an amazing manager? Is he back on track after a rough two weeks in motivating the players? Are they responding to him better?
It is entirely likely that the answer is "none of the above."
At 3-10, fans were all too quick to jump on the "fire Redmond" bandwagon for fear that, if the team made no changes, things would only get worse. This fear was due to the likely erroneous assumption that a 3-10 start was somehow predictive of the future and that the manager was one of primary players at fault. Suddenly, the Marlins win four in a row and five of six with nary a change made; the only shift in the situation was that Christian Yelich was placed on the DL with his nagging back injury.
Does Mike Redmond deserve a longer extension now that those six amazing games are over?
Of course not!
This six-game stretch tells us a little less than what that 13-game skid told us about Redmond and this ballclub. The expectations of this team should barely budge thanks to this most recent play. Redmond is not a good manager for being a part of these wins, nor is he a bad manager for being a part of the early-season losses. If anyone, including owner Jeffrey Loria, was honestly considering making rash decisions that could shake up a clubhouse based on 13-game or six-game samples, they probably should not be in a position to make decisions.
The Marlins turned their offense around mostly on their own. Some guys played better, leading to more runs. Sometimes, the explanation is as simple as that. There may not be some underlying problem that requires action, and taking an action when one was not necessary may not be beneficial and could cause harm. The Marlins stood pat after their bad first two weeks, and thankfully they were rewarded with some good fortune.
Could things get worse again next week? Sure! But the fact that baseball just started and the numbers of the team's most recent play are glaringly obvious in April makes for strong opinions when the reality is that we just do not know enough about this team to change our expectations. After this latest set of games this week, FanGraphs (based on Steamer projections) has the Marlins winning about 50 percent of their remaining games. Last week, at their lowest point, the projection was exactly the same. Nothing has changed in just about three weeks, because it is simply too early to make adjustments to our true-talent expectations.
Dee Gordon is batting nearly .400. Marcell Ozuna has no home runs. You would still take their career batting lines over their current 2015 performance. The same goes for the Marlins team as a whole and for Mike Redmond. Marlins fans still have to be patient; we need to gather more data before determining what the problems are on this team. Overreacting is the mark of a bad franchise, not a successful one. The Marlins are striving to be the former, but fans (and the team's owner) are often privy to making decisions like the latter.